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Former New Jersey governors Thomas Kean and Brendan Byrne joined the Boy Scouts of America at a dinner last November honoring Lafayette Trustee Emeritus Edward “Ned” Jesser ’39, who received the Distinguished Scouter Award for his service to the Northern New Jersey Council. Before retiring from the executive board last year, Jesser contributed to the Boy Scouts financially and as a member of a dozen boards over a span of 42 years.

Jesser once asked a retired Army general to determine how 5,000 acres in the Adirondacks could be developed into what became the North Jersey Boy Scout Camp, then enlisted others in a campaign to fund the project. He also raised money for a new headquarters for the Hackensack Scouts after the old facility was condemned. After the group outgrew that building, he raised $1.5 million toward new headquarters. In addition, Jesser assisted the Northern New Jersey Council in its campaign for an endowment fund of more than $10 million.

A former chairman and chief executive officer of Summit Bank, Jesser received the College’s highest honor, the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service, in 1999. The west wing of South College was renamed Jesser Hall in honor of the $3 million gift that he and his wife Ruth made to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign.

A member of the ROTC program at Lafayette, Jesser served as captain in the U.S. Army infantry before being promoted to major and assisting the effort to rebuild towns in Belgium and France after D-day. Narrowly escaping capture in the Battle of the Bulge, Jesser was decorated with the Bronze Star and received the Croix de Guerre and the Couronne de Chenne from the Luxembourg government. He was employed in the banking field for more than four decades and was president and chairman of United Jersey Banks for 22 years.

Last fall, the newly renovated west wing of South College was named in Jesser’s honor.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles